Two Charlotte women will run arguably the most important marathon of their lives on Saturday in Houston.
Caitlin Chrisman, a 26-year-old Bank of America employee, and Megan Hovis, a 29-year-old personal trainer, are set to compete in the 2012 USA Women's Olympic Trials Marathon, alongside 224 other American women who qualified for the prestigious event.
The race determines Olympic team members who will represent the U.S. at the 2012 Summer Games in London. The top three finishers in Houston make the team, with the fourth and fifth finishers designated as alternates.
Chrisman, who ran for the Wake Forest University cross country and track and field teams from 2004 to 2008, qualified for the Trials at the 2010 Twin Cities Marathon (in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area) with a time of 2 hours, 41 minutes, 52 seconds.
Hovis, who ran for the University of New Hampshire, posted her qualifying time at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon in Australia in 2010; she ran a 2:45:42.
Says Hovis: "I went into the race not thinking I could hit the mark, but when my husband promised a puppy if I ran the 2:46 qualifying time, I had a bit more incentive." She got her dog, and named him Dash.
For Hovis, this will be her second time at the Trials - in 2008, she finished 12th with a time of 2:37:29.
The women's race starts at 8:15 a.m. Saturday. NBC will air taped same-day coverage from 3 to 5 p.m.